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College Students

Top 11 Ways to Get Fired Over Facebook

Why Top 11 and not 10, you ask? Because, like Spark Hire, I like to go one step above the competition.

I’m sure you’ve all heard it before: once it’s online, it will never go away. Sure you can make yourself feel better by hitting “delete post” but we both know that doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. We all know stories of people who have, in one way or another, posted something that they shouldn’t have and it came back to seriously bite them.

As the generation that spends most of its time on Facebook- admit it, you have a tab open to your profile page right now- we have to be aware of when using it can get us in trouble. You might get away with having it open during class, but the workplace is entirely different. A university won’t expel students for boasting and bragging about another school, but your employer might not like its workers talking up the competition. The Dean of Students won’t call you into their office if you post about skipping class, but your boss probably won’t like it if you decide to play hookey and then brag about it online. Bad habits are easy to start and are even more dangerous when you don’t know they’re bad habits. Take a lesson, learn well and don’t do any of these things. With that said, here are my top 11 ways to get canned because of Facebook.

11. Posting “OMG I HATE MY LIFE!! MY BOSS IS A (Blank) BECAUSE (Blank) (insert expletive).
Most people forget that they’ve probably added their boss or co-workers to their friends list. With Facebook’s new features, you don’t always see everybody’s posts but why take the chance at your boss finding the one you happen to insult him/her with?

10. Admitting to Anything Resembling A Crime
You are not mafioso. You will get in trouble if you brag about doing stupid and illegal activities. The most common one for college students is drinking underage. Employers know how old you are and they will can you for violating the law. There are even stories of universities that have skipped over Double Secret Probation and straight out expelled students for underage drinking.

9. Not Policing What People Post On Your Page
Yes, even what your friends post can get you in trouble. People have a tendency to be a little more cavalier with other people’s pages, so watch what your friends are posting on yours. Don’t get canned because your friend decides to bring to light a part of your life your company wouldn’t want representing them.

8. Not Policing What YOU post On Other People’s Pages
Sort of going back to number 11, there is always the chance someone will see what you post on another person’s page. Complaining about your job is a great way for any employer to think about if you really deserve it.

7. Lying
Let’s say you told your boss you’re not coming into work today because of whatever reason. Then you post something like a picture of you and your friends at Disney World that day. Seriously? You should know that Facebook timestamps everything you post. This goes back to number 10, bragging about getting away with something. Only not for long.

6. Inappropriate Chatting
Anything you say can be recorded and it’s only easier when it’s been typed out. Now there is an actual record of you saying it. Don’t get caught saying stupid things in real time online, otherwise you’ll find yourself looking for a new job. A lot of companies have the ability to monitor computers and network usage, so assume that whatever you’re saying can be read by your company’s IT person.

5. Mixing “Business Life” With “Social Life”
People try to defend their social media habits by saying “I’m a different person professionally. My personal life shouldn’t make a difference.” Whether or not this argument holds any ground, there is always a chance, if you’re not careful, that the two will eventually intersect. If you’re job is social media, don’t let your personal politics get in the way of professionalism. Don’t post photos considered to be in bad taste or promote messages that go against company beliefs.

4. Violating Company Privacy Agreements
Some companies make their employees sign confidentiality agreements or privacy agreements. Posting marketing ideas or confidential pictures online does not put you high on the boss’s Christmas bonus list. In fact, you’re probably at the top of his “pink slip” list.

3. Talking Up Your Company’s Competitor
Bad idea. If you work at “Coffee-bucks,” don’t post about “Bucks-coffee” serving a better brew. Or better yet, don’t post about their managers being nicer than yours.

2. Using Social Media to Let the World Know You’re Looking For A New Job…
…while you still have one! Someone in your office is going to see it and if they can see it, so can your boss. At least you’ll be happy you got a head start.

1. Using/Surfing Facebook While on Company Time
Like I said before, companies can monitor what you’re doing online. Don’t get caught surfing Facebook and playing “words with friends” instead of putting in your numbers. If you’re bored at work, talk to your boss about getting some more responsibilities. Working pays the bills, not Facebook.

You can also use the George Carlin method and combine these into a more condensed list. Basically don’t do or say anything that misrepresents the company you work for, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do or say while at work. Being responsible on the World Wide Web is not rocket science, but it does take perseverance and self-control- like everything else in life. Don’t ruin your chance at a job because of a lack in judgment.

Questions? Ideas or suggestions? Follow me on twitter @ChrisComella or email me at ccomella@sparkhire.com

Christopher Comella

Christopher earned his BA in Political Science from DePaul University in 2011, and is no stranger to writing and deadlines. One of his greatest assets is to add humor to even the driest of subjects, which is why half of his professors love him and the other half hated his work.